What Fellowship Has Light With Darkness?
by Adrian Carlo
For many years I think we have all seen the apparent confusion and perhaps a lack of understanding when it comes to the subject of fellowship. Many are clear on their stand of major issues, yet can’t seem to get a grip on establishing a scriptural practice in their fellowship of others.
Please consider the following passages of scripture and observations as they per-tain to the subject, to the end that we may all have a clearer consensus.
Fellowship, koinonia (Gk.); partnership, participation or (social) intercourse, com-munion.
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3).
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (1 John 1:6).
If we claim fellowship, then we cannot walk in darkness (the opposite of light; the gospel of Christ). We must not fellowship darkness/false doctrine.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
We Cannot Fellowship Each Other
If Some Do Not Walk In Light
"Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7).
Pervert, metastrepho (Gk.); to turn across, transmute or corrupt. Example: 2 Pet. 3:16,17—"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."
Peter is very direct when he refers to one who would wrest, or twist a scripture as "unlearned, unstable and wicked." Unlearned, because they haven’t or won’t study thoroughly and contextually. Unstable, because they bend to the winds of false doctrine. And wicked, because they stand in the face of God with their error! Peter says, "Beware, lest we fall from our own stedfastness and are led away with them."
When any of us begin to affiliate with those whose doctrine is based on a "wrest"ed scripture (perverted gospel), we become their disciple and not Christ’s. "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). There are fellowships other than the one based on the gospel of Christ, like denominations or digressives. However, we read of what their final destiny is to be in Matt. 7:15-23.
"If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:9).
Should we fellowship those whom Paul states to be accursed? Paul is very inclusive any man! This covers not only preachers, but a son, brother, father, mother, uncle, grandparents, in-laws, strangers and the list goes on. It is likely that we all have some-one close to us who teaches, practices or promotes a false doctrine.
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him god speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11).
John gives us further plain teaching on how we need to regard those holding false doctrine.
God, theos (Gk.); a deity, esp. the supreme divinity. Speed, chairo (Gk.); a prim. verb; to be "cheer"ful, i.e. calmly happy or well off; imper. esp. as salutation (on meet-ing or parting), be well; farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy(fully), rejoice.
When we extend God’s blessing and our "amen," fellowship if you please, to anyone who "abides not in the doctrine of Christ," we are "partakers of their evil." "Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them" (Eph. 5:6-7).
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17-18).
Paul’s stern language here says to "avoid." Division is caused by those perverting the gospel, not by believers who are faithfully holding up the true gospel of Christ! When Paul says "serve not our Lord," that should explain something to us. You see, we are united in fellowship to serve the Lord. They are neither. They choose not to be in fellowship; "cause divisions and offences" and they serve their own ends; their "belly."
"And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish (warn) him as a brother" (2 Thes. 3:14-15). To fellowship someone who practices/promotes false doc-trine, violates both directives given; "have no company with" and "admonish him."
Company, sunanamignumi (Gk.); to mix up together, associate with. When we "fel-lowship" those in a false doctrine, it must of necessity be for the express purpose of admonishing them! Warning them. It is all too often the case that we see our brothers and sisters who, because of their closeness to loved ones in error, begin to base fellowship on their emotions rather than the gospel of Christ. Then, habitual association and fellowship follows. Whatever happened to "have no company with"? Where is the "admonishing"?
If we feel we can fellowship those who hold a particular false doctrine, say divorce and remarriage, maybe we could see the error of doing so more readily by substituting that doctrine with another. Examples: Multiple cups and loaves, instrumental music, class system of teaching, women teachers, accepting abortion or homosexuals, etc. Do we have a problem with our people mingling with fellowships and churches that embrace these doctrines?
Also consider 2 Cor. 6:14-18. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
(Also read verses 15-18.)
This passage supplies some of the clearest teaching on fellowship God has given us. Let us be submissive to God’s will and determine only to give light to those in darkness, not accept them in their darkness. Allowing darkness, whether it be us with them or the other way around, is to invite leaven into our ranks!
In bringing our remarks to a close, consider the parallels that might be drawn from the following tidbit out of a chapter of our nation’s history.
All the fighting men wore blue, that is until large segments of the south became dissatisfied. They seceded from the union and war began! They put on gray uniforms.
Most of us know what sort of things took place in the bloody Civil War. However, here is an incident that very likely did not happen.
A few of the boys in blue took a little vacation down south. No problem, they just slipped out of the Blue and joined a platoon of Grays! They sat around their campfires, shared their grub and swapped a few yarns. The next morning a battle ensued; they put on some grays and, with muskets in hand, helped them in the fray!
Later, as they are journeying home where they belong, they recount the great time they had and what a good bunch those Grays really were.
Just then they noticed a troop of soldiers camped on a hillside nearby. Peculiar thing though was their uniforms—they were wearing blue coats and gray trousers!? It made them wonder within themselves, "whose side were they on, and what did they stand for?"
On the home front once again, in garb of blue and muskets in hand, they bravely and openly fight for the honor and welfare of the glorious North. —5419 SE 1st Ct., Des Moines, IA 50315